CONTENT WARNING: this post contains the phrase “holy shit” more times than was probably necessary.

This post, a post about the five stages of achieving your goals started as a tongue in cheek idea before my brother took even one step in the Kokoda Challenge on the Gold Coast. It was going to be the only post. The post that cheerily summed up our weekend. Then it turned out the challenge was a gut-wrenching roller coaster that needed an almost 3,500-word post of its own.

So what then? What happens to the post about achieving your goals? Well, it becomes a little more light and easy, more breezy and bright. It becomes post that mentions the phrase ‘holy shit’ too often. It becomes THIS post about how, when it comes down to it, there are five stages you go through when achieving your goals.

The 5 stages of achieving your goals

Stage 1: Holy shit, I’m doing this

Best described by the overwhelming feeling of wanting to exclaim loudly, WOO! Stage 1 sees you taking those very first steps, the leap or being given the push, and then you find that you do indeed have wings, and you can fly. Woohoo! You might be nervous, or a little worried but excitement will be the main feeling. Oh yes, baby, this is what life is ABOUT. Consider this your “I am a Golden God” moment. Almost Famous fans, don’t leave me hanging, that’s for you.

So what do you do? You ride that feeling, baby. You bank some extra cash; you enjoy the highs, and you prepare yourself that for most people, what goes up must come down (but probably won’t stay down, FYI).

Stage 2: Holy shit, this is sort of hard

WTF best describes stage 2. It’s that moment when you hit your first obstacle, the first MAJOR obstacle, and you realise that oh goodness you are out here on the ledge all by yourself. Eeeeek. It’s the moment in my tale about my brother that they walked through the gates of the first checkpoint, and I was like GULP. This is going to be harder than it looks. Stage 2 of achieving your goals looks a little bit like WHO THE HELL CAME UP WITH THIS PLAN?

During a stage 2 level WTF moment, reminder yourself why you are doing this. Why is it important to you to achieve this goal. It turns out YOU came up with this plan. And if it all looks like a bit much right now, start making some lists, plan the next few days or weeks of action and ride it out. Stage 2 comes and goes, but if you keep moving forward, it doesn’t last long.

Stage 3: Holy shit, I can’t do this

Abort mission! Abort, I was wrong, I take it all back, I can’t do this, never could, never will. Dear Lord why didn’t anyone tell me that it was impossible to do that thing I want to do. Stage 3, welcome. Stage 3 in the five stages of achieving your goal is all about the retreat. That moment in whatever journey you are taking when you think, nope I’m out of here. Stage 3 is when every doubt you have ever had about your abilities comes to a head.

So now what? Well, all there is to do is keeping going or quit. And sure that sounds like it is a bit simplistic but it’s not. You have to recommit to your goal, you have to tell those voices in your head to get lost, you have to stand for you having the things you want! Now. Right now. There’s no time to lose, because if you wait, the holy shit I can’t do this might just win.

Stage 4: Holy shit, maybe I can do this?

Hold the phone…! You edged through the clearing of stage 3 and all of a sudden you have a realisation that maybe, just maybe, you might make it. I looked at my brother at checkpoint 8, the way he was carrying himself, his entire energy had changed. He knew and without speaking, so did I, he was going to make it (or was he? Did you read the story yet?). Stage 4 is that moment when you are staring what you want in the eye, but now it’s time to grab it!

So how do you manage stage 4? Well, there is still work to be done, you’re not at the finish line yet. There are probably a few last stumbling blocks, challenges and road blocks (sometimes literally) in your way before you can have what you want. Stage 4 is about knowing you’ll get there no matter what and knuckling down to do the work.

Stage 5: Holy shit, I’ve done it!

Woohoo. WOOOOHOO. That moment. That sweet moment when in your hands, right in front of your face is THE very thing that you’ve dreamt about. You have your goal; you’ve achieved it and no matter how keen you are to start the process again this is no time to rush on by! Savour what you have achieved. Get excited for where you’ve come from. Take stock of everything it took to be here. You did it. Holy-freaking-shit. Well done you.

It seems idiot proof but to manage stage 5 you do need to slow down and take it all in. Don’t let your moment pass you by. Standing at the finish line, the burn of the morning sun on the top of my eye, stinging my weary eyes, I took a few deep breaths and just exhaled. That was the moment. We’d done it. That’s how you do stage 5.

There you go folks, no matter where you are on the road to achieving your goals, no matter how many times you’ve been back and forward, sooner or later if you keep on, you’ll have your stage five moment! Promise. Speaking of which? Done anything cool lately? Photos and links welcome in the comments. 😉

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